What is AP (source- College Board) AP® enables students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. Through more than 30 courses, each culminating in a rigorous exam, AP provides willing and academically prepared students with the opportunity to earn college credit and/or advanced placement. Taking AP courses also demonstrates to college admission officers that students have sought out the most rigorous course work available to them. Each AP course is modeled upon a comparable college course, and college and university faculty play a vital role in ensuring that AP courses align with college-level standards. Talented and dedicated AP teachers help AP students in classrooms around the world develop and apply the content knowledge and skills they will need later in college. Each AP course concludes with a college-level assessment developed and scored by college and university faculty as well as experienced AP teachers. AP Exams are an essential part of the AP experience, enabling students to demonstrate their mastery of college-level course work. More than 90 percent of four-year colleges and universities in the United States grant students credit, placement, or both on the basis of successful AP Exam scores. Universities in more than 60 countries recognize AP Exam scores in the admission process and/or award credit and placement for qualifying scores. Visit www.collegeboard.org/ap/creditpolicy to view AP credit and placement policies at more than 1,000 colleges and universities. Performing well on an AP Exam means more than just the successful completion of a course; it is a gateway to success in college. Research consistently shows that students who score a 3 or higher on AP Exams typically experience greater academic success in college and have higher graduation rates than otherwise comparable non-AP peers.* Additional AP studies are available at www.collegeboard.org/research.
How are AP exams scored? The exam scoring process, like the course and exam development process, relies on the expertise of both AP teachers and college faculty. While multiple-choice questions are scored by machine, the free-response questions are scored by thousands of college faculty and expert AP teachers at the annual AP Reading. AP Exam Readers are thoroughly trained, and their work is monitored throughout the Reading for fairness and consistency. In each subject, a highly respected college faculty member fills the role of Chief Reader, who, with the help of AP readers in leadership positions, maintains the accuracy of the scoring standards. Scores on the free-response questions are weighted and combined with the results of the computer-scored multiple-choice questions, and this raw score is converted into a composite AP score of 5, 4, 3, 2, or 1. The score-setting process is both precise and labor intensive, involving numerous psychometric analyses of the results of a specific AP Exam in a specific year and of the particular group of students who took that exam. Additionally, to ensure alignment with college-level standards, part of the score-setting process involves comparing the performance of AP students with the performance of students enrolled in comparable courses in colleges throughout the United States. In general, the AP composite score points are set so that the lowest raw score need to earn an AP score of 5 is equivalent to the average score among college students earning grades of A in the college course. Similarly, AP Exam scores of 4 are equivalent to college grades of A-, B+, and B. AP Exam scores of 3 are equivalent to
Using and Interpreting AP Scores The extensive work done by college faculty and AP teachers in the development of the course and the exam and throughout the scoring process ensures that AP Exam scores accurately represent students’ achievement in the equivalent college course. While colleges and universities are responsible for setting their own credit and placement policies, AP scores signify how qualified students are to receive college credit or placement: AP Score Qualification 5 Extremely well qualified 4 Well qualified 3 Qualified 2 Possibly qualified 1 No recommendation
Additional Resources: Visit apcentral.collegeboard.org for more information about the AP Program.